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p. 247



OF all the island-world of the Pacific the Micronesian area affords the poorest store of myth material; not that the people of these islands were relatively destitute of mythology, but because until very recently practically no attempt had been made to gather and record it. Much of the treasure which was once so abundant has now disappeared for ever, and the blame for this loss lies here, more than elsewhere in the Pacific, at the door of the early European visitors. In all the other Oceanic regions they, or at least part of them, made some effort to record what their civilization was destined to destroy, but here scarcely a fragment was preserved. Racially the people of Micronesia show at least two or perhaps three component elements. A Melanesian factor is certain at least in some island-groups, although its relation to the other factors varies widely, some islands showing a large mixture of Melanesian blood, others but little. The non-Melanesian element in the population presents some difficulty; it may be predominatingly Indonesian or Malay, or a varying mixture of both, but in the present state of our knowledge it would be premature to come to any definite conclusions.

Next: Chapter I. Myths of Origins and the Deluge